No matter how good of a photographer you are, everyone runs into red skin from time to time. As a newborn and baby photographer, I find this to be especially true of newborns and little ones hands, feet, and elbows.
Getting rid of red skin is not as hard as it looks, it just take some minor tweaks in Photoshop. You can use these techniques in both Photoshop Elements and regular Photoshop.
There are a couple of different ways to do it, but I’m going to show you how to reduce the redness in skin without affecting the rest of the image through using masks.
So, let’s get started!
Go ahead and open your image up in Photoshop, whatever version you may have. As you can see below, the image I have selected to use is a mother holding a newborn baby outside. The newborn has some definite redness on the toes, face ear, fingers and part of the shoulder. So what we want to do is eliminate that redness , but not affect the rest of the picture.
1. Once your image is open, go to your toolbar and click on the brush tool (make sure the opacity is set at 100%) and then click on the mask button, usually at the very bottom of the toolbar. It looks like a rectangular with a circle in the middle. Below is a close up shot of it.
Now, with your brush you are going to “paint” over all of the red areas in your photo that you want to correct. The brush strokes should appear as a bright red/orange color like below.
Once you have all of your red areas painted on, click the mask button one more time. When you do this you will see the “marching ants” or a selection of everything but your red areas, like shown below.
Once you do this, the only areas the marching ants should be around are the red areas you painted on earlier. Now that we have the red areas of skin selected, we can start manipulating the skin tone and color.
So, your next step will be to go over to the right hand side of the screen and to select levels. Again, both Photoshop Elements and regular Photoshop users both have this option. If you aren’t sure which button is the levels, here is a close up view. The levels button is located on the top row and looks kind of like mountains.
As you can see in the second drop down menu in the image above, we have RGB selected. What we want to do is slide that middle arrow/cursor to the left a little bit so that we brighten our selected area up. As you slide that cursor to the left, you will see that some of the redness fades out of your selected area, but the rest of the image is not altered.
Now, once you have your brightness adjusted, click on that second drop down menu and select red. If you slide the cursor to the right (I went up to .9) you add some blue to the selected area, again getting rid of those red tones.
Then go back up to the drop down menu and select blue. If you slide the cursor to the right (I went up to .9 again) you will warm the image back up, but not redden it. You can do the same with yellow, which will warm up your image as well.
Depending on your image, you will need to play with these levels to get the right balance of skin tones. Below is what my image looks like before and after the Level Adjustment I just went through.
Now, if you go down to your layers you will see the mask layer and the background layer (shown below). If you click on the “eye” of the mask you can see a quick before and after to show the difference your mask is making. If you don’t like the way your image is looking with the mask you can go back in and adjust those levels again or you can delete the mask and start over.
Also, on the mask layer, what you see in white is the area that is going to be affected by your edits. If you accidentally painted on an area that you don’t want to be affected, such as the mother’s arm in my image or the flowers, simply select your black brush and paint back over to delete that area from the mask. You can do this the other way around too. If you forgot to add a red area to the mask, simply select your white brush and paint over that area to include it in your mask.
Remember: White is additive and Black is subtractive
Now, for Element users, this is about as far as you can go, but for full Photoshop users, you can go even one step further by using curves and selective color. If you want to do this, create the beginning steps by creating a mask over the red areas. Then, you can go into selective color (my personal favorite) and adjust the color tones with the cursor the same way we did with the levels.
When you are finished with your mask you will want to merge you image (shift ctrl E) or just simply flatten the image. Then you can continue on with other edits or save and be done! Voila..redness be gone!
Please let me know if any of these steps were confusing or you need a further explanation, as I would be happy to help you out! Be sure to share this with others if you found it helpful!
Frisco Baby Photographer | Frisco Maternity Photographer | Lovely Fitzgerald Photography | Contact Jessica | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.lovelyfitzgerald.com |